A two-year-old legal showdown between 21st Century Fox and Netflix over the streaming service’s alleged improper poaching of studio executive talent heated up last week, when Fox accused Netflix of having a “blueprint” for stealing away executives.
In a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking a summary judgement, Fox attorney Daniel Petrocelli argued Netflix “systematically” employs a spreadsheet to track studio executive talent, contacting potential recruits via their personal email and offering compensation for personal legal defense to help them break their contracts.
Fox has told Judge Lawrence Cho that it will accept compensation of only $1 if he rules in its favor. In its own motion for summary judgement, Netflix accuses Fox of holding its executives “hostage” and seeks to have the judge rule that that Fox’s entire system for locking executive talent under contract is null and void under California law.
If neither of these motions succeeds, the case is set for trial in May.
Fox filed suit against Netflix in 2016, after Netflix hired Fox 21 TV development executive Tara Flynn and film executive Marcos Waltenberg.
Fox isn’t the only studio to complain about Netflix’s executive recruitment tactics, or to sue over the matter.
In October, Viacom also sued the streaming service after Momita SenGupta left to become VP of physical production for original series at Netflix.